New network aims to bring local business women together

Katrina Shamel, left, and Tina Carne are launching a Scarborough and District branch of WIRE, a national network for women in rural enterprises. Picture Dave Kettlewell. 113142'04/08/11
Katrina Shamel, left, and Tina Carne are launching a Scarborough and District branch of WIRE, a national network for women in rural enterprises. Picture Dave Kettlewell. 113142'04/08/11

ENTREPRENEURIAL women in Scarborough are being asked to come forward and join in a new business network group set to launch next month.

Tina Carne and Katrina Shamel, both of Wykeham, are setting up a Scarborough and district branch of WiRE – a national network for women in rural enterprise – and are inviting any woman in business in the area to come along to the first welcome event on September 14 at the Downe Arms.

Mrs Carne, who runs a graphic design and marketing agency with husband Andy said the network aims to bring local women in business together and inspire those who may just be starting up.

She said: “The idea of the monthly network meetings are to share skills, work together, support members’ businesses and find new customers. We plan to have a range of speakers who will provide information, advice and inspiration.

“This is aimed at any woman running or thinking of starting a business in the Scarborough and district area. They’ll be able to get support, skills, inspiration, knowledge and new business benefits.

“We want to inspire and support like minded women in the area and help them grow their businesses. We also want to give them the opportunity to find more business opportunities.”

Wykeham business woman Mrs Carne returned to her Scarborough roots last November after moving to Devon then Cornwall 18 years ago.

She was a member of a large women’s network in Cornwall and was keen to join a similar network in Scarborough but found the nearest WiRE networks were York or Northallerton.

Katrina Shamel had wanted to start a WiRE network in the area for some time and having dealt with and talked to many women in rural businesses she knew there was a demand. She was delighted when Tina moved in to the village and had similar ideas.

They will now be organising monthly events with guest presenters providing business advice and expertise to members who will also have the opportunity to network with other business women in the area.

Network leader Katrina ran a town centre hotel in Scarborough for 15 years, and then worked in construction. She has been at the Dawnay Estates for two years as manager of the Wykeham Business Centre and will be leading one of the group’s future sessions.

She said she is looking forward to meeting new people and providing a networking opportunity.

“The first event is a welcome meeting to introduce the new Scarborough and District WiRE network. It is open to existing members and those interested in joining,” said Mrs Shamel. “The first event will feature Pat Symons of Wykeham, talking about how she has used her skills and sheer determination to build up an extremely successful business.

“There will be a chance for informal networking for people to swap business details and make new contacts.

“We will also have a five to 10 minute member slot at each event where one member can talk to the group about their own business and experiences.”

Mrs Carne added that the concept of a women only network dates back to 1996 when the Wire was first established in 1996 by senior lecturer Izzy Warren-Smith at Harper Adams University College whose research identified a significant number of farm diversifications were established by women.

Believing that these women suffered from a lack of business support, access to finance and confidence, it led to the first meeting which attracted 400 women.

“Female entrepreneurs were coming up against a number of barriers, including lack of access to finance, lack of confidence, not being taken seriously, rural isolation, and lack of rural business support,” said Mrs Carne. “The countryside is alive with business often driven by rural female entrepreneurs. We believe passionately that women in rural business should be heard and valued. WiRE is now a trusted national organisation, which helps rural women develop and grow their business and delivers a range of services in response to member feedback and the needs of women in rural business.”

The Scarborough network leaders are asking women in Scarborough to spread the word in they want to succeed with their own business. They believe that the network will allow other females to open the door to business partnerships and new ventures.

“According to WiRE literature, “over 70% of new business is gained through word of mouth”. I agree with this because it has definitely been the case for my business,” said Mrs Carne. “Being in marketing, I know that word of mouth is definitely one of the most cost effective and convincing forms of PR, advertising or marketing for products and services. So if people have the chance to network this can only be good for their business – it’s almost like having a verbal business card.”

For more information about WiRE please contact Katrina Shamel on 07821 299233.